The best job in the world? Meet Will Jessup…

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The best job in the world? Meet Will Jessup…


As an award-winning travel company, we like to personalise the whole experience of booking a surfing holiday with us. So here is the first in a series of interviews with our reps and surf instructors around the globe. Meet Will Jessup, Surf Coach in Newquay in the Summer and Sri Lanka in the Winter…

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  1. Name and job: Will Jessup, Surf Instructor at Errant Surf School  and The Eco Surf Lodge, Sri Lanka
  2. Sum yourself up in three words: Living The Dream
  3. Sum your job up in three words: Fun, wet, social
  4. How long have you surfed and what do you love about the sport? I’ve been surfing in Newquay for as long as I can remember. There are so many beaches in the town and surfing is genuinely the most fun thing I’ve ever done. The fact that it keeps me relatively wholesome and fit is a bonus. So if you’re after a new vice with zero bad side affects, start surfing!
  5. So what is ‘surf coaching’?Basically teaching someone to surf, or surf better by showing them how. Passing down of the knowledge from experience and theory and inspiring someone to go past their potential, whether it’s charging massive waves, doing crazy airs, or standing up on a white-water for the first time.
  6. What made you decide to become a surf coach?I was sick of dead-end jobs and had a word with a close friend, who encouraged me to make a career out of my passion. As professional surfing was out of the question, I thought that teaching people how to surf was the next best thing and it really does feel amazing and worthy helping people to learn something new. The stoke on their faces when they stand up, or when an intermediate catches a green wave is classic. It is a very rewarding job.
  7. How did you get into it? It was all pretty simple to be fair. I just applied for a NARS Beach Lifeguard Course and Surf Instructor Course and that was it! I even got a job through going on the course. Happy days.
  8. Apart from surfing, what do you tell your students to do to stay fit when they aren’t in the water? Just try and stay fit generally. The fitter you are, the better you are at surfing and therefore the more fun it is. Yoga is also very good and read surf fitness blogs.
  9. How is coaching in small surf different than big surf? They’re different things to prepare for. We can usually tell ahead of time what the surf is going to do so I’ll make sure I’ve got the right boards for the conditions. Then in the water it can be challenging as the bigger the surf, the more dangerous it tends to be with rip currents etc, so I’ll just make sure I’m focused. In the small stuff you just have to keep enthusiasm levels high and coaching more intermediate surfers, I’ll focus on technique and perfect form.
  10. In your surf coaching career what is the hardest thing you’ve had to deal with yet? Well as a surf coach we are also fully trained lifeguards, so we can handle crazy situations. I luckily haven’t had anything too sketchy happen in one of my training sessions. But I have seen a crocodile in the lineup in Sri Lanka!
  11.   What are a couple of the most common mistakes the average surfer makes that keeps he or she from catching more waves? Having high expectations and when those aren’t met, anger and frustration put you on a downer. You’ll start thinking too much then lose focus and won’t go with the flow of the wave. Just chill out guys and girls.
  12. What are some basic tips you can give the everyday surfer to improve their basic surfing? Straighten your back. Good posture is crucial and surfing like a hunchback looks seriously whack. Bend your legs and surf to the speed of the wave, don’t force things with quick movements.
  13. How important is confidence to surfing well? Confidence is key. To improve in this you must be able to see and feel yourself doing whatever it is you want to do. I learnt this as a skateboarder – visualising myself do a trick before practising it with full commitment and confidence.
  14. In Newquay you help out at the Grom Club, helping young surfers catch more waves and surf them better, what are your thoughts on wave etiquette for younger surfers fitting into increasingly crowded lineups? Give waves away, be happy, have lower expectations, respect people and be genuinely stoked someone else is catching a good one.
  15. What are the three best things about Newquay? Socialising, Surfing and the fact that a tiny 70s skateboard is an acceptable form of transport for a grown man.
  16. And Sri Lanka? SURFING IN BOARDSHORTS
  17. What’s the surf like in Newquay/ Sri Lanka? The quality does vary pretty much everyday at both places but there’s always something to ride.
  18. Can you get barrelled? Yeah I randomly got one on my dad’s longboard the other day at Fistral and there’s a reef in Sri Lanka which barrelled every single time I went there last season. Obviously I’m not saying where… ha ha
  19. Can learner surfers learn safely? You can on my watch man.
  20. Describe the Will Jessup experience, what can a newbie surfer expect from a 2 hour lesson with you? You can expect plenty of patience and a fun approach to learning to surf. No matter what fitness level you’re at I aim to get the least aquatic human beings standing and pro surfers absolutely shredding. You will get a laugh and most definitely a beverage afterwards.

Will Jessup has travelled Europe Surf coaching, has just finished off a season in Newquay and is off to Sri Lanka for the Winter. So if you fancy the Will Jessup experience this Winter, take a look at our surfing holidays at The Eco Lodge, Sri Lanka, or wait til Summer 2013 and join us in Newquay. If Will has inspired you to become a surf coach, check out our courses here.

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Hans van Mourik

Co-founder SurfaWhile, ♥️travel, sports & outdoors.

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